Writtle University College and ARU have merged. Writtle’s full range of college, degree, postgraduate and short courses will still be delivered on the Writtle campus. See our guide to finding Writtle information on this site.

Sir Michael Marshall (1932-2019) CBE

Sir Michael Marshall

Areas of Interest


Honorary Award

Honorary Visiting Professor, 2009 and Honorary Doctor of the University, 2001


Sir Michael Marshall was educated at Eton College and read History at Jesus College, Cambridge, where he also gained his Rowing Blue and rowed for Great Britain.

Prior to attending university Sir Michael completed his National Service as a pilot in the Royal Air Force between 1950 and 1952. He joined the family business in 1955. In 1963 he was appointed Managing Director of Marshall (Cambridge) Limited - now Marshall Motor Group - and was appointed Deputy Chairman of the Marshall Group of Companies in 1965. He became Group Chairman and Chief Executive in 1989. In 2011 he handed over his responsibilities as Chief Executive to his son, Robert, with Sir Michael remaining Chairman of the Group.

He was High Sheriff of Cambridgeshire in 1988 and served as a Deputy Lieutenant of the County from 1989, including as Vice Lord- Lieutenant from 1992 to 2006. He was involved with the development of other businesses, serving for a time as a Director of the Eastern Electricity Board and of the BL Cars Distributor Council. He was Vice-President of the Institute of the Motor Industry and was a Vice-President of the Engineering Employers Federation from 1993-2003. He served on the Air Cadet Council and as President of The Air League from 2004-2009. He had a distinguished record of voluntary service, including with the Cambridge Appeal for the British Olympic Association, the Prince's Trust Fundraising Committee and The Ely Cathedral Restoration Appeal. He was also President of Addenbrooke's Charitable Trust, Chairman of the Court of Benefactors of the East Anglian Air Ambulance, the Honorary Air Commodore of the Anglian Regiment of the Royal Auxiliary Air Force and a member of the Council of The Prince's Charities.

He was awarded a CBE in the 1999 Queen's Birthday Honours and a knighthood in the 2010 New Year's Honours.


"The Senate of Anglia Polytechnic University has great pleasure in recommending the award of an Honorary Doctorate of the University to Michael John Marshall MA, CBE, DL, FRAcS, FIMI, Chairman and Chief Executive of Marshall of Cambridge (Holdings) Limited, Vice Lord-Lieutenant of Cambridgeshire and former High Sheriff, businessman extraordinaire, sportsman, pilot, philanthropist and Freeman of the City of London.

Today we honour this true Son of Cambridge, who began his formal education in Canada, continued at St Faith's School, Cambridge, before moving on to Eton College from where he went on to read History at Jesus College in the University of Cambridge. As a keen rower, he stroked the Cambridge University Crew in 1954, rowed for England in the European Championships in 1955 and is Chairman of the Cambridge '99 Rowing Club.

Michael Marshall was commissioned as a Flying Officer and Pilot in the Royal Air Force whilst fulfilling his National Service obligation between 1950-1952, during which time he spent some time training in Canada. He has held a Private Pilot's Licence for over fifty years, remains a keen flyer and is a member of the Cambridge University Air Squadron.

In 1955 he joined as a Management Trainee, the Marshall private family group of companies started by his grandfather in 1909. In 1963, he was appointed Managing Director of Marshall (Cambridge) Limited, which has grown into Marshall Motor Group, one of the largest in Europe and one of the first to recognize the benefits of multi-franchise representation on one site.

In 1965, Michael became Deputy Chairman of Marshall of Cambridge (Holdings) Limited and assisted his father in the growth of the aerospace and vehicle body building businesses which have grown into Marshall Aerospace and Marshall Specialist Vehicles. He became Chairman and Chief Executive in 1989, following his father's retirement.

The Marshall-owned and operated Cambridge Airport has become a local landmark with its constant to-ing and fro-ing of both civilian and military aircraft (like the Hercules, Airbus, Tristar and even "Jumbo!") for servicing and modification. A wide variety of high technology rapid mobility products for military customers world-wide are manufactured from its premises to the north of the airfield. The group remains a private company operating in the road and air transport industry with book net assets of £110m, annual sales of around £500m and over three thousand employees.

Michael Marshall has also served as a Director of the Eastern Electricity Board, Chairman of the BL Cars Distributor Council, Vice-President of the Institute of the Motor Industry, Vice-President of the Engineering Employers Federation, Companion of the Institute of Management and Chairman of the Cambridgeshire Manpower Committee of the Manpower Services Commission.

He is also Chairman of the Air League and has received high recognition from a number of learned and professional organizations, including the Royal Aeronautical Society, the Institute of the Motor Industry, the Institute of Directors, the Royal Society of Arts, the Institute of Management, the Guild of Air Pilots and Air Navigators and the Guild of Freeman of the City of London.

A notable feature of Michael's character is expressed through his clear concern for others as he provides support to many community and philanthropic endeavours, holding office in a wide range of charitable and volunteer organizations including the Air Training Corps, where he has been Chairman of the Civilian Committee of the City of Cambridge Squadron since 1975, Chairman of the Central Region and member of the National Air Cadet Council since 1994; the Cambridge Appeal for the British Olympic Association; the National Trust Wimpole Avenue Appeal Committee; the County Committee for Ely Cathedral Restoration and the Order of St Etheldreda; the Cambridge Society for the Blind, the Princes Trust Fundraising Committee; the President of The Fund for Addenbrooke's and he is a Patron of the Sue Ryder Home at Ely, Cambridge Children's Hospice and Cambridge Appeals for Newnham and Homerton Colleges of Cambridge University.

Michael Marshall is a dynamic force for good in the business and social life of this City of Cambridge and the county of Cambridgeshire, a veritable mover and shaker of the life force of this community whose businesses in road and air transport are crucial to the national economy and whose benevolent behaviour reaches into every corner of the community.

It is for these reasons, therefore, that I invite you, Vice-Chancellor, to confer on Michael John Marshall, MA, CBE, DL, FRAcS, FIMI, an Honorary Doctorate of the University."